Image for Local Government in Tasmania is Very Broken

The cat is escaping the bag the political ‘triumvirate’ – politicians, public servants and media moguls – have kept it in for such a long time. Likewise, stories are getting out and there is nothing at all that is new about any of that except for the players and just what it is that they are getting away with.

As time has passed they –  the triumvirate – have become emboldened and individually, as well as collectively, they have taken their ‘power greed’ to new levels. The purposes this ‘power’ has been applied to is sometimes mystifying but that doesn’t discount it in any way. It really gets to be worrying when their fellow travellers and personal networks start to expose themselves and pose uncomfortable questions.

There is little doubt that in Tasmania in the 21st Century there is no justification whatsoever for 29 Councils given Tasmania’s relatively stagnant population of 500 thousand. The population is quite simply unable to provide the representative personnel with the wherewithal to be able to deliver the outcome required by the wider community and to be truly accountable. The evidence clearly points to that being so.

The Local Government model in Tasmania is broken and it needs to be fixed and urgently. However, social media is expanding its reach to the machination of local governance issues and as the subscribers to the various forms become competent we can expect to see more and more.

We probably can thank Donald Trump for alerting us to the ways we can bypass the dysfunctional and complicit ‘press’ when it comes to whistleblowing.

What are the signals that the system is broken?

• Firstly, the number of dysfunctional Councils and ‘council operations’ must be a concern for anyone interested in accountable governance – I give you Huon, Glenorchy, Spring Bay, George Town, Launceston, collectively and singularly.

• Secondly, General Managers applications of SECTIONS 62 & 65 of the Local Govt Act to wit, management assuming the authority of policy determination via various means not always in reflection of the Act.

• Thirdly, the failure of various councils to appropriately and/or adequately consult with their constituency while seemingly privileging sectional interests via Machiavellian and circuitous means.

• Fourthly, the abdication of aldermen/councillors in regard to playing their representational role towards meeting community needs and aspirations and especially so in regard to accountability – their own and the operational wing of councils.

• Fifthly, the transfer of significant ‘public assets’ into the hands of corporate and private interest without there being rigorous consultation processes being put in place to test community acceptance and/or delivering upon accountability.

And there is more still! When a Council levies rates $500 in excess of like properties elsewhere that has to be some kind of alarm.  When on apparently ‘operational initiatives’ a council puts ratepayers’ debt liabilities beyond the reach of about half of its constituency there is reason for serious concern. When expertise is deemed to exist when the evidence for it is deficient there is serious reasons for apprehension.

Clearly its time for a root and branch review of Local Govt. in Tasmania and tweaking the current Act just will not cut it.

*Ray Norman is co-ordinator of Launceston Concerned Citizens. This (fuller) article was published on LCC’s website, HERE

Peter McGlone, TCT, Talking Point in Mercury: Sewerage figures are on the nose PETER Gutwein repeatedly criticises TasWater for providing third-world drinking water and sewage management. The minister repeats the same few statistics as if they prove TasWater is a failed institution and the only solution is for him to take it over. A closer look at the minister’s statistics shows that he has seriously misled us. In regard to drinking water, his claims are fanciful and do not require serious response, apart from repeating what TasWater has said, that 99.4 per cent of Tasmanians connected to TasWater receive drinking water that meets national standards …

Mercury: Glenorchy general manager Peter Brooks moves to kill off Board of Inquiry